Drive and enjoy the Ring of Kerry with your rental car
The Most Beautiful Villages of the Ring of Kerry have a special charm. A tour of the Ring of Kerry is undoubtedly one of the areas where a unique landscape is outlined in Ireland. In fact, it is one of the most touristy places in the country. Castles, beaches, cliffs, emerald forests, Celtic legends, medieval fortresses, mysterious islets hidden in the horizon, and if you also like to drive, do not hesitate, the Ring of Kerry will fascinate you.
Travelling by rental car around the Ring of Kerry will allow you to discover the area with complete freedom, regardless of the timetables of the few combinations of the public transport network. It is possible to book rental cars in the same terminal at Kerry airport on arrival, and this is undoubtedly the best option for touring the country and reaching the most remote places. It is also the ideal option for road and nature lovers.
It is a circuit that extends over 170 km of road, forming a circle or ring that begins in Killarney, flanking the peninsula of Iveragh in the southwest of the country in County Kerry, and which undoubtedly hides some of the most spectacular landscapes of Ireland. The route passes through the following points: Kenmare, Sneem, Waterville, Cahersiveen and Killorglin, before returning to Killarney again from the south, and skirting the Killarney Lakes and Killarney National Park.
After picking up your rental car at Kerry Airport, head to the first stop, Killarney. In Killarney, you can visit St Mary’s Cathedral. This building is the largest, and perhaps the only, tourist attraction in Killarney’s historic centre, but this fact does not detract from the attractiveness of the area. The colourful little houses make it worthwhile to spend a few hours walking around the town.
In Killarney, you must visit Killarney National Park. Killarney National Park, which covers a total of 10,236 hectares, was the first national park created in Ireland (1932) and a quarter of this extension is occupied by the three lakes of Killarney: Lough Leane, Muckross Lake, and the Upper Lake. In it, we can also visit the Ross Castle, Muckross House & Gardens, Ladies View.
Continue driving with your rental car, you can follow your route along the Ring of Kerry via the N72, towards Killorglin, the second stop.
Killorglin is one of the most active places in all of Kerry County. Searching for history along its grounds, we can find the ruins of Castle Conway, an old stately home that, to this day, only retains one of its walls. However, these stone ruins enclose much of the history of this defensive fortress, which dates back to the 14th century and was continually destroyed and rebuilt until the mid-19th century.
In the downtown area, we can find its greatest commercial activity. A series of buildings, belonging to the 19th century Italian-Irish businessman Charles Bianconi, attract attention. Buildings are famous for being guest houses in the middle of that same century, remaining, today, for the enjoyment of tourists.
But if there is one thing that stands out in the city of Killorglin, it is the Puck Fair, the oldest traditional fair in all of Ireland that takes place in August, lasting three days, and which brings together young and old in a livestock fair, mixed with the gastronomic tradition and Irish fun.
Continuing on your way, and only 10 minutes by car from Killorglin, you can make another mythical stop at Kerry Bog Village, in Quaybaun, where you will find “The Red Fox Inn” where you can taste the typical Irish coffee. The place is known in the country for having been frequented by illustrious characters. Inside you can see different paintings with famous people.
Glenbeigh is a charming village at the foot of the mountains of the Iveragh peninsula. You can stop and enjoy its scenery and atmosphere, walk along Rossbeigh’s golden beach while breathing the sea breeze. Glenbeigh has traditional pubs and restaurants where you will have the opportunity to listen to live Irish music.
Cahersiveen is one of the largest towns in the Ring of Kerry next to and is located on the banks of the River Fertha. Birthplace of the liberator Daniel O’Conell, it was also the site of the 1867 military uprising. In the historic area of the town highlights the Daniel O’Connell Memorial Church and the building of the Old Barracks Heritage Centre.
3 km northwest of Cahersiveen, perched on its promontories are the remains of two reconstructed stone fortifications, whose walls date from the late ninth and early tenth centuries.
A few metres down the same road leading to the forts, between cattle fences and raised on a marshy tongue of the River Fertha, swallowed by a curtain of ivy, are the ruins of Ballycarbery Castle. The fortification dates from the 16th century, although its origins are not known exactly. It appears that the castle was built on the very ruins of an earlier fortress.
The Ring of Kerry Road continues south to the city of Waterville. However, two kilometres from Cahersiveen, we take the fork in the Ring of Skellig, which crosses to Valentia Island and runs along the westernmost cliffs of the Iveragh Peninsula. Undoubtedly, this is one of the alternatives we recommend in case we have enough time.
The detour at the fork leads to Reenard, a small village where, as a commemorative monolith recalls, the most western railway station in all of Europe was located. The Valentia Harbour station was opened on September 12, 1893, and operated until February 1, 1960.
These ancient railroads crossed the north of the peninsula, connecting the eastern towns of Kerry County with Valentia Harbour. Here, the Valentia Island Car Ferry crosses with daily frequencies of 10 minutes to Knightstown, the only town on Valentia Island, known for its small crimson bell tower.
Valentia Island is 11 km long and 3 km wide and is traversed by a network of narrow roads, one of which climbs up to Geokaun Mountain following the signs. With 266 meters high, it is the highest place on the island. From its top, there are fabulous 360º panoramic views, possibly one of the spectacular ones at the Ring of Kerry.
It is possible to reach the summit by car, or by walking from the parking lot located at the beginning of the ascent. Before reaching the top, there are marked observation areas, with views of the islets of Skellig, Portmagee, the cliffs of Fogher and the slate mines, from where the mineral was extracted for the construction of some symbolic buildings, such as the Palace of Westminster, the Westminster Cathedral or the Opera Palais Garnier in Paris. In each of the viewpoints, there are information panels about the mythology, history, fauna and geography of the region.
A modern bridge connects Valentia Island with the picturesque and photogenic village of Portmagee. Hotels, some restaurants and a couple of curious souvenir shops. There is little else to visit in Portmagee. That said, it’s probably one of the most charming villages on the Iveragh peninsula
It is well worth making a small stop, to walk by the old boats that are waiting moored at the pier, or to take some nice pictures of the little pastel-coloured houses in the only avenue of the village. Portmagee is also one of the places from where the boats set sail for the Skellig Islands.
The larger of the two islands that make up the archipelago, Skellig Michael, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it holds one of the most intriguing and spectacular landscapes in the entire country.
Characterized by wild landscapes lost under cliffs and beautiful white sand beaches, the Skellig ring continues through the belt that borders the western coast of the Iveragh peninsula. With enough time, it is a spectacular area to explore, where the sharp edges of the Skellig Islands are intermittently revealed by the tide.
Another beautiful place to explore is the beach of the small village of Ballinskelligs, characterized by a shadowy silhouette in the background, which describes the castle McCarthy raised on a rocky tongue.
Continue along the Iveragh peninsula to Waterville, where the beach with rocks bordering the shore stands out. Next to the beach, in a garden next to it, you will find a famous bronze statue in honour of Charles Chaplin. It was erected in the village to show gratitude to the actor for spending summer stays in the town.
Derrynane Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland. This beach is very long and is made up of a mixture of clear sand, rocks and small coves. Walking on it is a real pleasure. Derrynane Beach is also perfect for swimming and other water sports because it is protected by a natural harbour, and during the summer season you can find lifeguard teams.
The next traditional village on the Ring of Kerry circuit that we will reach with our rental car is the town of Sneem. Walking through this nice little village, the most remarkable thing is the view from the bridge near the centre. It’s remarkable, and it’s worth seeing the waterfall that flows through the Sneem River.
Kenmare is a village where you will find, among others, beautiful stone houses with slate roofs dotting cobbled streets full of shops with old posters. Without a doubt a really delicious image for the lovers of this type of charming little town.
Our last stop, back in Killarney, is Moll’s Gap. Moll’s Gap is a mountain pass on the N71 road from Kenmare to Killarney, overlooking Macgillycuddy’s Reeks, the area and its shop is a scenic spot visited by thousands of tourists every year. This 6.3 mile and 860-feet mountain pass is perfect for seeing the Black Valley and further down the descent are Ladies View and Killarney Lakes.
About Kerry Airport
The airport is located in the South West of Ireland in County Kerry, between the towns of Tralee and Killarney, about 17 kilometres (20 minutes) from Killarney.
Our Car Rental offers at Kerry Airport
Our car for hire offers will allow you to enjoy your holidays in the Ring of Kerry in the most comfortable and simple way. All you have to do is compare our rental car offers and book the car that best suits your needs at the most economical price.
Our Kerry Airport economy car rental service will allow you to compare prices and move around Ireland in complete comfort and autonomy. Whether you travel alone or as a family trip, you can also select the car accessories you need, such as car seats for babies or GPS, on this website you can book and have at your fingertips a modern selection of vehicles of different categories, including Economy, Compacts, Vans, 7 Seater, 8 Seater, 9 Seater, Cargo Vans, Fullsize, Luxury, Premium or SUVs, as well as a range of optional extras, so you can move with a model tailored to your needs.
One-Way Car Rental and Last-minute offers in rent a car in County Kerry can be found on our website, where you will find the best prices in cars for rent in the Ring of Kerry from major companies: Dooley, Firefly, Avis, Budget, Hertz, Enterprise, Europcar, Thrifty, Sixt, and more local companies. To book your car at Kerry Airport office, simply use the car rental search engine above.
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If you are planning to rent a modern car in Ireland and enjoy the latest technical advances, both to go on holiday, business trip, or to make a good impression at an event, we invite you to discover the comfort and performance of our Hybrid and 100% Electric cars available at Kerry Airport.
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